The signs of a toxic friend are subtle.
You may not know how bad your friend is for you because you’re caught up in your friendship. But you’ll feel the toxicity after some time. So, how would you recognize the signs of a toxic friend and deal with them? How would you identify this friend before he or she throws your life into chaos?
What is a toxic friendship?
Friendships are vital because they impact all aspects of our lives. Good ones are enriching; conversely, toxic ones are destructive.
One friend’s needs get met while another’s are forgotten. A toxic friend is draining, unsupportive, and focuses only on his or her feelings. He or she also gives tremendous stress.
Furthermore, you’ll find a toxic friend overly demanding. He or she will take a lot from you but won’t give anything back.
Why a toxic friend isn’t harmless
You may shrug off toxic behavior, but it isn’t as harmless as you think.
We usually react to sarcastic or selfish friends with anger and disdain. Once the feeling subsides, all that’s left is negativity. The unwanted behaviors of derision, judgment, pettiness, and distraction take over.
But you’ll probably be reluctant to let go of your friend. You may believe that he or she is the only friend you have. Therefore, you put up with your friend’s poor treatment of you, all the time grumbling behind his or her back.
The result? You become defensive, cynical, hate-filled and irritable. In short, you become toxic yourself.
10 Signs of a Toxic Friend Who Is Poisoning Your Life
So, the consequences of a toxic friendship are negative at least and disastrous at worst. It’s essential to identify the signs of a toxic friend and address them before they ruin your life altogether.
1. Focusing on negativity
Do the phrases ‘I’ll never pass the exam,’ or ‘Things will never change,’ sound familiar?
Toxic friends would, first of all, never look at the bright side of life. They will resist all attempts to get them to see the light – the Light of Positivism.
Such friends will destroy your motivation and lower your mood. Therefore, you should deal with the behavior before it overtakes you.
2. Toxic Friends Are Poor Listeners
Also, toxic friends, rarely, if ever, listen to your problems. Friends share their worries with one another; they believe in mutual understanding and support. A toxic friend would demand that you’re there when he or she is down but is hardly around when you feel the same way.
3. Toxic Friends Criticize
Furthermore, toxic friends are hypercritical. They are quick to point out your flaws but feel resentful when you do the same.
While constructive criticism is useful and at times even life-changing, relentless, negative put-downs are the complete opposite. If you feel that your friend’s constant critique makes you unable to talk to him or her, he or she is probably toxic.
4. Toxic friends are quick to anger
Moreover, toxic friends are quick to show their temper, either passively or aggressively. They blow up or refuse to speak to you over the smallest oversights. If you always feel guilty or apologetic for trivial reasons, you have a destructive friend.
5. Toxic Friends envy your success
A true friend is the first to congratulate you when you achieve milestones in your life. A toxic friend can’t, and won’t share your happiness. He or she won’t celebrate your success.
6. Toxic Friends love themselves
Toxic friends love nothing better than to talk about themselves. They are always the centers of conversations. However, they’ll give you the brush-off when you try to share your life with them.
7. Toxic Friends Don’t Keep In Touch
While it’s impossible for friends always to call one another, it’s essential to keep in touch occasionally. A toxic friend will have no interest in maintaining his or her relationship with you.
8. Toxic Friends Don’t Think About Your Feelings.
Also, toxic people don’t consider their friends’ feelings. They say everything off the cuff, assuming that you won’t mind. But they’re quick to lose their cool when you step on their toes.
9. Toxic friends apply pressure
Toxic friends force you out of your comfort zone, often to better themselves and not you. While it’s essential to stretch your boundaries, being compelled to do so is unhealthy.
10. Toxic Friends Won’t Change Their Behavior
Finally, a toxic friend won’t change his or her behavior, even if it benefits both of you. His or her pride stands in the way. The unwillingness to change and grow is toxic.
Dealing with the signs of a toxic friend
You’ll want to avoid destructive friendships. But doing so forcefully is like pulling an arrow out of your body; blood will gush out of your wound and drain quickly.
So, how do you go about doing it without awkwardness or ramifications that are even more serious than that?
1. First of all, acknowledge that it’s a gradual process, especially if the friend is someone whom you can’t avoid meeting. You may have to form other friendships and let him know a few times that you’ve moved on.
2. Also, all of us have learned that we must treat others with respect. For this reason, we’ll feel guilty if we avoid people, even if they’re toxic. Don’t think that you owe destructive friends explanations for not being as giving as you once were.
3. Talk to toxic friends where others can see and hear you. That will reduce the chances of outbursts happening.
4. Block destructive friends on social media. That decreases the likelihood of social or emotional bullying.
5. Reiterate your boundaries. State that they have crossed your line with their behavior. Don’t argue because that will give them a reason to negotiate the relationship, or make it seem that you’re the one at fault.
6. Consider distancing yourself if you can’t separate from a toxic friend. Choose not to attend non-essential activities.
In all, if you recognize the signs of a toxic friend, you can do so gradually, in a healthy way.
By Michelle L.